Annie Rosen, NeighborWorks*VISTA from NHS of Chicago, pointed out this article to me. The article talks about New Orleans’ ability to bounce back within a short time regardless of the mass exodus that took place right after the hurricane Katrina. Instead of focusing on hurricane Katrina and the reasons for mass exodus, the writer of the article sheds light on the grassroots level of community engagement that has been responsible for recent growth in New Orleans. She writes that “with the help of thousands of volunteers from around the country, [New Orleanians have] started fixing up playgrounds, parks and schools themselves. Church and community groups, schools and extended families became the nuclei for rebuilding projects around the city. Across New Orleans’ 73 neighborhoods and some 270 new community-based organizations opened their doors, providing everything from help cleaning out and restoring houses, starting businesses and managing the bureaucratic nightmare of collecting damages from insurance companies and the government.” This collaborative effort between volunteers, local activists and community organizations has resulted in gaining back 75% of the lost population, revival of damaged New Orleans’ neighborhoods, and stronger school systems transforming New Orleans’ into an attractive and affordable city for young skilled entrepreneurs. This bottom up approach of the citizens taking charge and collaborating with each other and investing in their own neighborhoods is a story worth paying closer attention to. 
•    How do you as a stakeholder (renter or homeowner), invest in your own neighborhood? Is that a long term or short term strategy?
•    How can a disorganized inapt neighborhood revive its glory days?  
•    How does AmeriCorps*VISTA’s mission play a role in this?